This month, Dave Clews looks at how using articulations can help add authenticity to your programmed brass parts
Dave Clews shows how to use articulations on brass
Of all the tasks when creating music on a computer, one of the trickiest things is programming realistic brass parts that sound plausible. Luckily, recent developments in sampling and virtual synth technology have made things a lot easier, mainly thanks to the generous provision of articulations found in modern brass sample libraries. But what are articulations, and how can they make your brass parts sound more authentic?
In short, an articulation is a particular way of playing a certain instrument. Most people could pick up a trumpet, for example, and get something resembling a musical note out of it. But a practised player would use different techniques to extract different dynamic variations from the instrument, and these all have particular names. Shakes, trills, falls and doits are all examples of the kind of articulation that can be found in a half-decent horn library.
All of these have a particular character that, when added to an arrangement and used correctly, can lend an air of humanity to what might otherwise be a relatively vibe-free, machine-like sequence of staid brass samples. So, using Logic Pro X’s Studio Horns instrument, let’s investigate a few of the different articulation types available, and check out how you can use them to add authentic brassy vibes to your own tunes.